The Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, often dubbed as “HCG”, is a type of hormone present in the placenta of pregnant women. It is excreted by the syncytiotrophoblast, a multi-nucleated epithelial tissue which sustains the proper circulation of the nutrients between the mother and the embryo.
Generally, the level of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin doubles every 72 hours and various laboratory assessments are done to monitor these changes. There are two kinds of HCG analyses – the quantitative and qualitative tests. A qualitative test checks whether the woman is positive of having the HCG hormone in her body. A quantitative test, on the other hand, identifies the amount of this hormone present in her body. To know more about HCG hormone and related tests visit URL.
Blood tests are commonly carried out after the 11th day of conception to track the initial level of HCG. Alternatively, urine tests can also be done if the conception period is already on the 12th – 14th day. The highest level of the HCG during pregnancy is recorded on the 8th – 11th week. After the given timeframe, the level will eventually drop until it finally diminishes at the end of the prenatal period.
Different factors influence the levels of the HCG. Lowered levels of this hormone suggest that the following situations have occurred.
1. Miscarriage. This is known to be one of the leading causes of pregnancy failure. Usually, miscarriage happens during the first five months of conception. It occurs when the embryo dies inside the mother’s womb even before it reaches the phase of fetal viability or independent survival. Chromosomal defects, improper implantation of the fetus, congenital heart disease, radiation, and other abnormalities relating to the normal development of the embryo are some of its main causes. Moreover, mothers aged 40 and above are subject to higher risks of experiencing miscarriage.
The common signs of this pregnancy abnormality are abdominal pain, bleeding, cramps, and fever. It is recommended that the woman seek professional advice as soon as possible in order to avoid further health complications.
2.Ectopic Pregnancy. This pregnancy abnormality happens when the undeveloped fetus is implanted outside the uterus. In most cases, the embryo is adhered to the fallopian tube. However, there are also instances where it is implanted in the abdomen, ovaries, or cervix. Some of the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy are severe abdominal discomfort, dizziness, and pain in the rectum, shoulders, or neck. Internal bleeding may occur, so immediate medical attention is required to prevent further complications.
3. An embryonic Pregnancy or Blighted Ovum. Generally, normal results are recorded in the ultrasound scan during the early phase of this condition. However, no embryo is actually developed inside the mother’s womb. The fertilized egg moves to the wall of the uterus but growth and maturity do not really take place.
There are a lot of women who think they are pregnant but are just actually suffering from blighted ovum. Remember that a positive level in the HCG tests does not always mean that a woman is pregnant. Ultrasound and other laboratory tests are still recommended to verify the conception.
4. Incorrect estimate of pregnancy period. The expected date of delivery for most mothers is computed based on their last menstrual period. Women who experience irregular menstrual cycles may find it difficult to track the progress of their pregnancy, so medical consultation is recommended.
There are still other things that influence the level of the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. However, it is important to note that high levels of HCG do not always translate to a healthy baby. There are pregnancies wherein the mothers have low HCG levels, but they still give birth to normal children. Ultrasound findings during the second month of conception provide more accurate results than relying on HCG levels. Moreover, regular check-up is advised to correctly monitor the development of the fetus.